Pastor Mark's Remarks

Paster Mark's Remarks
"The Stages of Faith"
James Fowler, a scholar who taught at Emory, wrote an excellent book titled “The Stages of Faith.” I highly recommend it! Without going into detail, he spoke of six stages from of “primal faith” as an infant to “universalizing faith,” which a few adults may achieve in their lifetime. Central to this development is the question: in whom do you put authority. As an infant, authority is all in the parents.
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We come together in a time teetering
This Thursday, I have been invited to provide the Invocation at our annual meeting of the Association of Professional Chaplains. As a member of their Board such requests are normal, but I wanted to share a couple lines from the prayer, because they also speak to us. In it I write, “[w]e come together in a time teetering on the edge of an abyss filled with uncertainties, challenges, anxieties, and frustrations.
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In-person worship begins
As you can see below, we are offering in-person worship beginning this Sunday. Praise God! Numbers of COVID-19 cases in Gwinnett County continue to decline, so we believe it is safe to reopen on a limited basis–as long as we follow good safty guidelines! We will continue to offer our 11:00 worship service on-line, so we invite you to attend only if you feel it is also safe for you given your own
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Rev Jim is our new "Sexton."
It is often said, “If it is too good to be true, it probably isn’t.” Well, in this case, it is true and it is great news! Over the years, many of you have grown to love and appreciate the work done on your behalf by Rev Jim Landis, and I know many of you were disappointed when you heard that he was retiring and leaving the staff of HGUMC. I,
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The "Hard" Side of Jesus
I must admit I am attracted more to the “softer” side of Jesus than I am to the “hard love” side of Him. I would much rather focus on the “abundant life” and our “freedom” in Christ than on obedience and suffering. This Sunday’s gospel, however, requires us to look more closely at the suffering we will encounter in our walk with Jesus. In Matt 16:24, Jesus tells his disciples “to
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The foundation of good pastoral care is relationship
The foundation of good pastoral care is relationship. Relationship begins with two people sitting down and getting to know one another. Since I became your pastor on July 6th, I have sat down in person with 28 of you all for face-to-face conversations and have spoken with a bunch more of you over the phone. I call these “pastoral conversations” because my goal is more than just being social–though that is
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I am a "lectionary preacher."
Many of you have probably figured out by now that I am a “lectionary preacher.” The Lectionary is designed on a three-year cycle that roughly covers most of the Bible. Each Sunday has four assigned readings: an Old Testament reading, a reading from the Book of Psalms, an Epistle reading, and a Gospel reading. A Lectionary preacher follows these assigned readings and in theory can pick any of the four readings
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What's in a name?
Several people (Thanks Carmine and Carroll!) have asked me about my last name, so I thought I would use this opportunity to give you all the scoop. It is a hyphenated name–sometimes called a “double-barreled” name–and therefore a mouthful. Historically, hyphenated names have been used in some cultures, such as British, to indicate nobility: I am fond of “the Royals,” but we are not British nobility. In British culture a hyphenated
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Hit The Ground Running
You’ve heard the expression, “hit the ground running”; well, now I know what it means. Perhaps it is just being new and not knowing the routine, but a lot seems to be going on–and it feels good! I know in this pandemic, life has slowed down for many of us and it is difficult to connect, but I want to get to know you. Since we cannot connect the normal way
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Greetings From Your New Pastor
Greetings from your new pastor! In case you have not already figured this out, Harmony Grove has a new pastor and perhaps to your surprise, that would be me: Pastor Mark LaRocca-Pitts. Though I have nearly 25 years of pastoral experience most of that has been in a healthcare setting as a professional chaplain. This translates into my bringing here to Harmony Grove a rich and varied experience in pastoral care,
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